The Torkelsons/Almost Home

Revision date: April 15, 1995

Compiled by Loren Heisey
contact
http://www.innermind.com/myguides/

and John Carr

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Series notes

The show was a comedy about a sensitive 14-year-old girl who's mortified by her crazy-quilt unorthodox family. Dorothy Jane just wanted to be thought of as normal, like any teenager, but had a hard time doing so. Her father had walked out on the family and they were always short on money. Her perky, optimistic mom, Millicent, saw sunshine everywhere. The rest of the family consisted of brothers - athletic Steven Floyd and studious Chuckie Lee, and sisters - spunky Ruth Ann and cute Mary Sue. They lived in a big rambling house in Pyramid Corners, Oklahoma. The name for the show came from a real Steven Floyd Torkelson who shared his bug collection and a first kiss with a little girl named Lynn Montgomery. She grew up to create the show some 30 years later.

The Torkelsons apparently turned out to be too down home for most people as it never found much of an audience in its original Saturday night timeslot and even less of one when it was moved to Sundays. After a second hiatus the series was revamped to return in February 1993 as Almost Home. For the new series the family moved to Seattle, where Millicent took a job as a nanny for the two spoiled teenage children of a widower. Two of the Torkelson kids were lost in the move as they never appeared in Seattle and the show pretended they never existed. The new series, which mostly pitted conservative family values against liberal family values, did not do any better in the ratings and disappeared after 13 episodes.

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Guide notes

The NBC air dates come from back issues of TV Guide so might not account for schedule changes. The synopses were adapted from TV Guide listings.

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The Torkelsons

[Torkelsons cast]

Cast

     Starring:
       Connie Ray                Millicent
       Olivia Burnette           Dorothy Jane
       Benj Thall                Steven Floyd [pilot]
       Aaron Michael Metchik     Steven Floyd [series]
       Lee Norris                Chuckie Lee
       Rachel Duncan             Mary Sue
       Elizabeth Poyer           Ruth Ann [pilot]
       Anna Slotky               Ruth Ann [series]
       William Schallert         Wesley Hodges

Episodes

  1. Fence Neighbors  9/21/91  production #T-401
     Debut: A homespun family led by a single mom tries to get by, but
     teenage daughter Dorothy Jane isn't thrilled when her mom's forced
     to take in a border to make ends meet.
       Written by    Lynn Montgomery
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Ernie Lively              J.W.
     Guest Starring:
       Michael Landes            Riley Roberts
       Richard McGonagle         Howard Roberts
       Lynn Milgrim              Lillian Roberts
     Featuring:
       Jeanine Jackson           Appliance Saleslady
       Gil Roscoe                Tall Man
       Skip O'Brien              Barly Guy

  2. The Cotillion  9/28/91  production #T-403
     Dorothy Jane hopes for a fairy-tale resolution to a school-dance
     dilemma: she has no dress, no date, and Riley, her Prince Charming
     next door, seems oblivious.
       Written by    Lynn Montgomery
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Ronnie Claire Edwards     Bootsie
       Michael Landes            Riley
       Paige Gosney              Kirby Scroggins
       Tanya Fenmore             Laine
     Co-starring:
       Alyson Kiperman           Dreama
       Nicki Vannice             Shawna

  3. A Kiss is Still a Kiss 10/05/91  production #T-404
     Dorothy Jane would like a romance between Millicent and the new pastor
     but when he comes calling, its only to report that Steven Floyd
     nearly turned a hayride into a roll in the hay.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Ronnie Claire Edwards     Bootsie
       Jeff McCracken            Reverend Langley-Wilson
     Featuring:
       Katie Jane Johnston       Debra Jo

  4. For Love or Money 10/12/91  production #T-402
     Millicent deems it necessary to be regularly employed, giving Dorothy
     Jane the job of looking after the other kids.
       Written by    Norma Safford Vela
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Ronnie Claire Edwards     Bootsie
       Michael Landes            Riley

  5. Poetry in Motion 10/19/91  production #T-406
     A blackmailing Ruth Ann reveals Dorothy Jane's private poems of
     passion to the world, but the unveiling ends up emboldening lovelorn
     Dorothy Jane.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Michael Landes            Riley
       Doren Fein                Nancy
       Suzie Plakson             Verna

  6. An American Almost in Paris 10/26/91  production #T-408
     Dorothy Jane wants desperately to bid adieu to Oklahoma and say
     bonjour to Paris, and she might, if she's selected the winner in a
     student-exchange competition.
       Teleplay by   Lynn Montgomery
       Story by      Lynn Montgomery, Diana "Jennie" Ayers & Susan Sebastian
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
       Alyson Kiperman           Dreama
       Lenny Wolpe               Mr. Wheeler

  7. Men Don't Leave 11/02/91  production #T-405
     Daddy's home: Randall Torkelson blows in from Texas after more than a
     year away, but his arrival is an ill wind to Dorothy Jane, and she may
     be the last gasp of his marriage to Millicent.
       Written by    Diana "Jennie" Ayers & Susan Sebastian
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Ronnie Claire Edwards     Bootsie
       Gregg Henry               Randall Torkelson

  8. Thanksgivingsomething 11/24/91  production #T-407
     Pastor Langley and his assistant will be guests for Thanksgiving,
     prompting Dorothy Jane to push Millicent to play up her femininity.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Jeff McCracken            Reverend Langley-Wilson
       Michael Horse             David Blackwing
       Remy Ryan                 Jenny Blackwing

  9. Return To Sender 11/24/91  production #T-409
     Wesley's estranged former daughter-in-law who, along with his
     granddaughter, is reunited with Wesley thanks to some good-hearted
     butting in by Millicent.
       Written by    Michael Jacobs & Norma Safford Vela
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Special Guest Star:
       Patty Duke                Catharine Jeffers
     Guest Starring:
       Ashley Peldon             Molly Jeffers
       Dave Florek               Mr. Katsotis
     Notes:
       Schallert played Patty's father on the 1960's *The Patty Duke Show*.

 10. I Fought the Law 12/01/91  production #T-410
     Millicent stands up for the American way, and the right to sell
     homemade pickled goods, by insisting on operating her annual roadside
     stand without a license.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
       Stephen Root              Sheriff Bobby Clinton
       Ken Thorley               Burke Miller
       Molly McClure             Gertrude Perkins
       Lou Hancock               Elvira Grandy

 11. A Sigh Is Just a Sigh 12/08/91  production #T-411
     Steven Floyd goes to bat for Millicent by beating up a school big
     mouth - but she doesn't know that until after she's chewed him out
     and he's run away.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby

 12. Educating Millicent 12/22/91  production #T-412
     Millicent had her reasons for not finishing high school, but there's
     no good reason why she couldn't take an equivalency exam now.
       Teleplay by   Lynn Montgomery
       Story by      Connie Ray & Lynn Montgomery
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Special Guest Appearance by:
       Kevin Clash               Elmo
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby

 13. Double Date  1/09/92  production #T-414
     Radio "Love Professor" Kitty Drysdale wires into the affairs of
     Dorothy Jane and Millicent's hearts and jump-starts their dating
     lives.
       Written by    Thomas Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest Starring:
       John Calvin               Michael
       Omri Katz                 Jason 
       Mother Love               Kitty 
     Notes:
       Kitty was played by radio personality Mother Love.

 14. The Ice Princess  1/12/92  production #T-413
     Dorothy Jane resolves to become the kind of girl who makes guys melt,
     and she looks to the school's resident ice princess for guidance.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest Starring:
       Michael Landes            Riley
       Amy Hathaway              Callie
     Featuring:
       Scott Campbell            big jock
       Rachel O'Neill            Daisy

 15. Swear Not By the Moon  1/19/92  production #T-415
     Never was there a story of more woe (except maybe one) than of Dorothy
     Jane's trial playing Juliet in the school play opposite her Romeo,
     Riley Roberts.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest Starring:
       Michael Landes            Riley
       Rick Lieberman            Mr. Whitman
       Vinessa Shaw              Meredith Reed
       Shawn Phelan              Mercurio
       Alyson Kiperman           Dreama
       Danuel Pipoly             Benvolio
       Ian Bohen                 Capulet

 16. Say Uncle  2/16/92  production #T-418
     Dorothy Jane and Millicent get a double dose of relentless wooing by
     two Scroggins men: Kirby and his big-talkin' uncle, who takes a liking
     to Millicent.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest Starring:
       Drew Carey                Herby Scroggins
     Featuring:
       Sara Rose Johnson         young Dorothy Jane
       Adam Wylie                young Kirby

 17. The Long Goodbye  5/02/92  production #T-420
     Randall Torkelson returns with a big hello for Millicent and the kids,
     but Dorothy Jane is fretting over college-bound Riley, who didn't say
     goodbye.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik, Wayne Lemon, Richard Christian
                     Matheson, Lynn Montgomery  & Thomas Szollosi
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest starring:
       Gregg Henry               Randall Torkelson
       Mother Love               Kitty Drysdale
     Notes:
       This appears to have been intended to be the final episode although
       NBC did not air it that way.

 18. The Egg and I  5/23/92  production #T-417
     Dorothy Jane and Kirby learn parenthood isn't all it's cracked up to
     be when a school assignment requires them to care for an egg.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest starring:
       Mother Love               Kitty Drysdale
     Featuring:
       Noah Cristopher           Greg
       Kelsea & Kassandra Gibbs  Jennie

 19. Its My Party  5/30/92  production #T-419
     Dorothy Jane is exposed to the perils of popularity when she throws a
     party to increase her social standing, but leaves a new friend
     standing out in the cold.
       Written by    Christopher Vane & Virginia K. Hegge
       Directed by   Robert Berlinger
     Also Starring:
       Paige Gosney              Kirby
     Guest Starring:
       Amy Hathaway              Callie Kimbro
       Alanna Ubach              Willie 
     Featuring:
       Nick Ayers                Bobby Jo 

 20. Aunt Poison  6/13/92  production #T-416
     Among the things that Millicent's eccentric aunt willed her are a sick
     dog, a valuable ring, an annoying riddle, an ugly painting ... and a
     lot of unanswered questions.
       Written by    Thomas Szollosi & Richard Christian Matheson
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Steven Gilborn            Dr. Euless
       Wayne Tippit              Strickland 
     Featuring:
       Patrick Reilly            delivery boy

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Almost Home

[Almost Home cast]

Cast

     Starring:
       Connie Ray                Millicent Torkelson
       Olivia Burnette           Dorothy Jane Torkelson
       Lee Norris                Chuckie Lee Torkelson
       Rachel Duncan             Mary Sue Torkelson
       Brittany Murphy           Molly Morgan
       Jason Marsden             Gregory Morgan
       Perry King                Brian Morgan

The production number is the order the episodes are re-run on the Disney
channel as they have shown other sitcoms in the production order.

Episodes

  1. New Moon  2/6/93  production 1
     Debut: "The Torkelsons" get a new start, as Millicent and her kids
     move to Seattle, where she takes a job as a nanny for the two spoiled
     children of widower Brian Morgan. In the opener, Brian's daughter
     Molly plots to create dissension between Dorothy Jane and Millicent.
       Written by    Michael Jacobs
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford

  2. Girls and Boy  2/13/93  production 5
     Dorothy Jane enjoys her new job at a fast-food chicken joint, mainly
     because of her handsome supervisor, but Molly also wants a piece
     of this action.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Linda Day
     Special Guest Star:
       Joey Lawrence             Jeff Thornton
     Guest Starring:
       Peter Van Norden          Mel
       James Gleason             Male Customer
       Shirley Prestia           Female Customer
       Kimberlee Corney          Megan

  3. Sleeping With the Enemy  2/20/93  production 3
     It's far from a perfect match when Dorothy Jane and Molly must share
     a bedroom, but the possibility of Brian's match with an attractive
     woman is what really bothers Molly.
       Written by    Lisa A. Bannick
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Special Guest Appearance by:
       Erin Gray                 Jennifer

  4. Is That All There Is?  2/27/93  production 13
     The top jock in school asks out plain old Dorothy Jane, who sports
     newfound popularity in exchange for a rather bland relationship.
       Written by    Patricia Nardo
       Directed by   Bruce Bilson
     Guest Starring:
       Ben Affleck               Kevin Johnson

  5. The Fox and the Hound  3/06/93  production 8
     When Brian's dinner date cancels at the last minute, he asks
     Millicent to fill in since the client he is meeting feels the
     man is only as good as the woman in his life.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   David Trainer
     Guest Starring:
       Paxton Whitehead          Sir Reginald Harrington
       Sarah Douglas             Lady Harrington
       Jared Leto                Rick Aiken
       Frank Birney              Captain

  6. Winner Take Millicent  3/20/93  production 10
     Brian's hotshot brother Jim asks out Millicent, and when things heat
     up between the two, Brian is left cold.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Patrick Maloney
     Guest Starring:
       Christopher Rich          Jim Morgan

  7. To Jane Eyre Is Human  3/27/93  production 12
     Molly plagiarizes Dorothy Jane's book report in order to please
     Brian, who's not pleased at all with Molly's recent report card.
       Written by    Mark Lisson
       Directed by   Patrick Maloney

  8. Duelling Birthdays  4/03/93  production 4
     Dorothy Jane and Molly's sweet-16 birthday parties coincide: Molly's
     is a back-yard extravaganza, while Dorothy Jane's is a plain affair
     with just the family.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Guest Starring:
       Marguerite Moreau         Kimberly
       Stephanie Brown           Chandice
       Trish Ramish              Linda
       Devon Gummersall          Party Boy

  9. To Date or Not To Date?  4/10/93  production 2
     Millicent's decree that Molly can't date a college-age guy creates
     solidarity between Molly and Dorothy Jane, who sneak out of the house
     together.
       Written by    Wayne Lemon
       Directed by   Arlene Sanford
     Featuring:
       James Calvert             Patrick
       Curnal Aulisio            Bill
       Vincent Ventresca         Dave

 10. The Dance  4/17/93  production 6
     Gregory's in trouble when friend Sam transforms herself into a pretty
     young lady and asks him to the Girls' Choice Dance.
       Written by    Mark Lisson
       Directed by   Linda Day
     Guest Starring:
       Alyson Hannigan           Samantha
       Richard Panebianco        Craig Keets
       James Gleason             Mr. Hacker
       Jay Lambert               Tom

 11. You Ought To Be In Pictures  4/24/93  production 7
     The camera loves Chuckie Lee, who loves the attention he gets posing
     in Brian's clothing catalogue. And when he gets a chance at a
     commercial, a reluctant Millicent acquiesces.
       Written by    Lisa A. Bannick
       Directed by   Dennis Erdman
     Guest Starring:
       Christine Rose            The Director
       Mark Shera                Paul
       Linda Larkin              Kim
       Wayne Federman            Assistant

 12. Hot Ticket  6/05/93  production 11
     Gregory gets it but good when he uses Brian's credit card in a
     desperate effort to land hard-to-get tickets to a big rock concert.
       Written by    Philip LaZebnik
       Directed by   Patrick Maloney
     Guest Starring:
       Alyson Hannigan           Samantha
       Donal Logue               Tommy Tom
       Peter Van Norden          Mel

 13. Bowling For Daddies  6/12/93  production 9
     Millicent and Chuckie Lee enter themselves in Chuckie Lee's
     Wilderness Troop's father-son bowling tournament.
       Written by    Lisa A. Bannick
       Directed by   David Trainer
     Guest Starring:
       Robert Costanzo           Big Bob Petrelli
       Jacob Kenner              Bobby Petrelli
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